I have a Brave Heart flashback consisting of Mel Gibson screaming that word every time I think about it. It is actually a pretty common word in the Bible. I find that sort of “God funny” because we find ourselves in a day in which people often associate Christianity with rule following and the Bible associates it with freedom.
Two scriptures on which I was meditating this morning were both written by the Apostle Paul and they are: (1) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1); and (2) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17).
The work of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit are for freedom. The obvious question to ask is, ‘What does Christ free people from?’ The answer to this is vitally important to us for so many reasons. The first scripture, which was written to the people of Galatia, was intended to clearly articulate their freedom from the Law. Paul wants them to know that they are no longer under the authority of the law in the same manner of their forefathers. This is exemplified in Galatians 2:11-12.
Paul further explains this freedom from the Law by saying (5:6), “ For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” His contrasting encouragement to the people is that their freedom from the Law empowers them to walk by the Sprit (6:16). Freedom empowers us to walk by the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (5:22-24). Jesus Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension ushered in the indwelling presence of the Holy Sprit which produces JOY in us rather than binding defeat through legalism. Freedom.
To the Corinthians it seems Paul is nuancing this freedom slightly. Not that it doesn’t mean what it has meant before, but he is adding another dimension to this great gift of freedom. The words immediately after 2 Cor 3:17 are, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Freedom here is the freedom to behold the glory of the Lord. We have been given the freedom to experience His presence in our lives. We have also been given the freedom to experience His graceful work of transformation in our lives. Freedom.
Jesus’ death on the cross made freedom possible for those who would believe and follow Him. Freedom is a gift that has been given to us, yet purchased by Him through an enormous cost.
Questions: Do you walk in the freedom that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection purchased for you? What is standing in your way?